Interpretivist International Relations

Academic year
Subject Area
Political Science – International Relations
Language of Instruction
Mode of Delivery
ECTS Credits
1st Cycle Studies

Recommended Prerequisites

Not applicable.

Teaching Methods

Classes will be organized in seminar-based teaching, combining brief lectures, albeit with student participation in order to ease the overall understanding of certain concepts with active participation through discussion among students so as to analyse the ideas, their consequences and likely implementation to international relations.

Learning Outcomes

Main learning outcome:

- Understand how approaches to temporality, space, narrative and ascription lead to specific depictions of international relations with concrete - not to mention unavoidable - practical consequences.

Specific learning outcomes and skills:

- Identify thinkers and key ideas in hermeneutics;

- Understand the importance of methodological and ethical reflexivity, especially their impact on the study of international relations;

- Promote an interpretative capacity of events in international relations which accounts for the political impact of ideas of space, time and agency.

Work Placement(s)



Part I: Hermeneutics

-Introduction: The art of interpretation and hermeneutics

- Phenomenology and Hermeneutics: why interpret?

- Connections amid interpretation, understanding and explanation

- The problem of narrative

- Classic authors of hermeneutics and the thought of Hans-Georg Gadamer

Part II: Applying Hermeneutics

´-Interpreting space in international relations

-Temporality and its implications in international relations

-Language and Metaphors in international relations

-The act of ascription in international relations

-Reflexive methodology

-Ethical reflexivity in international relations.

Head Lecturer(s)

Bernardo da Silva Relva Teles Fazendeiro

Assessment Methods

Periodic or by final exam as given in the course information: 100.0%


Amoureux, Jack L. 2015. A Practice of Ethics for Global Politics: Ethical Reflexivity. London: Routledge.

Amoureux, Jack L, and Brent Steele, eds. 2015. Reflexivity and International Relations: Positionality, Critique and Practice. London: Routledge.

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. 2008. Philosophical Hermeneutics. ed. David E. Linge. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Gadamer, Hans-Georg. 2013. Truth and Method. London: Bloomsbury.

Hutchings, Kimberly. 2008. Time and World Politics: Thinking the Present. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Marks, Michael. 2011. Metaphors in International Relations. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Palmer, Richard. 1969. Hermeneutics: Interpretation Theory in Schleiermacher, Dilthey, Heidegger and Gadamer. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.

Pettman, Ralph. 2008. Intending the World: A Phenomenology of International Affairs. Melbourne: Melbourne University Publishing.